ISLAMABAD: A special court, established under the Official Secrets Act, indicted former Prime Minister Imran Khan and former Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the cipher case on Monday.
The cipher case involves a missing diplomatic document from Imran Khan’s possession, which the PTI alleges contained a threat from the United States to remove Imran from office.
Imran Khan was previously convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in the Toshakhana graft case on August 5. Although his sentence was suspended on August 29, he remained in jail due to being on judicial remand in the cipher case.
On September 30, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a charge sheet in the special court, naming Qureshi as the primary accused in the cipher case.
The court initially scheduled the indictment of the two PTI leaders for October 17 but postponed it to today’s hearing.
In today’s hearing at Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, Special Court Judge Abual Hasnat Zulqarnain formally initiated the trial and scheduled the witness summons for the next hearing on October 27.
FIA Special Prosecutor Shah Khawar stated that today’s hearing was for the indictment, which was read out in open court. The two PTI leaders were present, and further proceedings were postponed until October 27, when witnesses would be presented.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Advocate Umair Niazi, said that his client denied the charges and planned to challenge the court’s order in the high court. Imran alleged a conspiracy against him and claimed that his government was overthrown without records of the relevant meeting.
He also mentioned the “London plan” designed to undermine PTI and expressed concerns about political interference in the legal process.
Advocate Usman Riaz Gul, another member of Imran’s legal team, explained that they had informed the court that the indictment couldn’t proceed until they received complete witness statements and case documents. Despite their objections, the court indicted Imran and Qureshi.
Furthermore, the court approved Imran Khan’s request for a bicycle for exercise while in Adiala Jail, following the directive of Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain.